Philomena

Experience the heart-wrenching and inspiring tale of ‘Philomena,’ a moving film that takes you on an emotional journey as Philomena Lee, accompanied by journalist Martin Sixsmith, unravels the secrets of her past and searches for the son she lost, touching on themes of love, faith, and the unbreakable mother-child bond.

Shown: 7 February 2024

BBFC Ratings Badge 12A
  • Date of release: 2013
  • Running time: 1h 38m
  • Director: Stephen Frears
  • Writers: Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope & Martin Sixsmith
  • Country: UK, France & USA
  • Language: English
  • Links: IMDB Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic BBFC

Philomena Plot Synopsis

A 2013 drama film directed by Stephen Frears and starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. The story is based on real events and the book “The Lost Child of Philomena Lee” by Martin Sixsmith.

The film revolves around the emotional journey of Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), an Irish woman who, as a teenager, gave birth to a son out of wedlock. Her family sends her to a convent, where she is forced to give up her child for adoption. For decades, Philomena keeps this secret but eventually decides to search for her lost son.

In her quest, she is aided by Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), a former journalist who has been disgraced and is looking for a human-interest story. Together, they embark on a journey to the United States to find Philomena’s long-lost son. The search uncovers painful truths about the Catholic Church’s adoption practices and the life her son has led.

“Philomena” is a moving exploration of forgiveness, faith, and the enduring bond between a mother and her child. It combines elements of drama and comedy as it delves into themes of love, loss, and the power of human connection. The film received critical acclaim for its powerful performances and poignant storytelling.

Film Reviews

Getting full comic effect from its class-comedy abrasions, Philomena rises to poignancy and profundity as Dench reveals her control of a character stained by the loss of her child and troubled by her suspicion.

Mary Corliss, Time

It’s profoundly moving and thoroughly mind provoking, but despite the poignant subject matter, I promise you will not leave Philomena depressed. I’ve seen it twice and felt exhilarated, informed, enriched, absorbed and optimistic both times.

Rex Reed, The Observer

Official Film Trailer for Philomena



< January 2024

February 2024 >

Radioactive

The incredible, true story of Marie Curie and her ground-breaking scientific achievements. In Paris, 1893, Marie meets fellow scientist Pierre Curie. The pair go on to marry, raise two daughters and change the face of science forever by jointly winning the Nobel Prize for the discovery of radium in 1903.

Shown: 1 November 2023

Exminster Film Club Rating 86%

BBFC Ratings Badge 12A

Radioactive Plot Synopsis

Radioactive is the incredible, true story of Marie Curie and her ground-breaking scientific achievements. In Paris, 1893, Marie meets fellow scientist Pierre Curie. The pair go on to marry, raise two daughters and change the face of science forever by jointly winning the Nobel Prize for the discovery of radium in 1903. Marie Curie was the first female scientist to win the esteemed prize.

After the death of her beloved Pierre, Marie continues her research and invites scandal when she has an affair with another prominent scientist, Paul Langevin. However, it is Marie’s commitment to science which prevails, and the responsibility that comes with discoveries that quite literally change the world. Intercut between past and various sections of the present, we see how their science shaped both modern medicine and the advent of nuclear power and weapons.

Film Reviews

Life, death, science, mysticism, love and hate blend together to reveal depths of an internationally renowned genius. Deeply personal, sometimes tipping into the experimental, Radioactive is like no biographical feature I’ve ever seen.

Joelle Monique, Paste Magazine

As startling as it is to see the beloved scientist hated in her time, that we’re able to see this headstrong legend as a sexual being at all is a credit to how much Pike gradually humanizes her as a woman, while never pleading for our pity.

Amy Nicholson, Variety

Official Film Trailer for Radioactive



< October 2023

December 2023 >

Dream Horse

Dream Alliance is an unlikely race horse bred by small-town Welsh bartender Jan Vokes. With no experience, Jan convinces her neighbours to chip in their meagre earnings to help raise Dream in the hopes he can compete with the racing elites.

Shown: 5 April 2023

Exminster Film Club Rating: 96%

2019 BBFC Ratings Badge PG

Dream Horse Plot Synopsis

Experience the inspiring true story of Dream Alliance, an unlikely race horse bred by small town bartender, Jan Vokes (Toni Collette). With very little money and no experience, Jan convinces her neighbors to chip in their meager earnings to help raise Dream and compete with the racing elites. Their investment pays off as Dream rises through the ranks and becomes a beacon of hope in their struggling community.

Film Reviews

We can see every plot point rounding the turn long before the finish line, but that’s OK, because we’re having a (dare I say it) jolly grand time every step of the way.

Richard Roeper – Chicago Sun Times

Sure it’s hokey, but this fact-based crowd-pleaser starring a terrific Toni Collette as a struggling Welsh villager who risks everything on a racehorse she breeds and raises is an underdog story that works like a charm.

Peter Travers, ABC News

Official Film Trailer for Dream Horse



< March 2023

September 2023 >

Belfast

From director Kenneth Branagh, Belfast is a personal story about the power of memory. Set in late 1960s Northern Ireland, a young boy on the cusp of adolescence and childhood hijinks. Yet, with his hometown caught up in turmoil, his family faces a momentous choice: hope the conflict will pass or leave everything for a new life.

Shown: 4 January 2023

Exminster Film Club Rating: 93%

BBFC Ratings Badge 12A

Belfast Plot Synopsis

From lauded director Kenneth Branagh, and starring an acclaimed ensemble cast, Belfast is a personal and joyful story about the power of memory, set in late 1960s Northern Ireland. At the centre of the film is Buddy, a young boy on the cusp of adolescence, whose life is filled with familial love, childhood hijinks, and a blossoming romance. Yet, with his beloved hometown caught up in increasing turmoil, his family faces a momentous choice: hope the conflict will pass or leave everything they know behind for a new life.

Film Reviews

Taken all together, Branagh’s film is in its own special way like a cinematic equivalent of the Irish brogue that fills it: It’s lovely, it’s lyrical and it’s next to impossible not to be swept up by its charms.

Mike Scott

There’s only one trouble with his semi-autobiographical account. It’s so polished—so spirited, funny and skillfully calibrated—that it could be taken for a while as a crowd-pleaser and not a lot more. Sign me up for the crowd, though. This is surely the most pleasing film I’ve seen so far this year, but also the most affecting.

Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal

Official Film Trailer for Belfast



< December 2022

February 2023 >

The Duke

In 1961, Kempton Bunton stole a valuable painting from the London National Gallery. He sent ransom notes saying that he would return it on condition that the government invested more in care for the elderly. What happened next became the stuff of legend. An uplifting true story about a good man who set out to change the world.

Shown: 5 October 2022

Exminster Film Club Rating: 90%

BBFC Ratings Badge 12A

The Duke Plot Synopsis

In 1961, 60-year-old Kempton Bunton stole Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. He sent ransom notes saying that he would return the painting on condition that the government invested more in care for the elderly. What happened next became the stuff of legend. An uplifting true story about a good man who set out to change the world and managed to save his marriage.

Film Reviews

You could dine on nothing but lard for twenty years and still not develop the hardness of heart necessary to avoid being won over by Roger Michell‘s The Duke, a ridiculously charming British comedy that dunks a gamely accented prestige cast into an appealingly milky true story like so many digestives into a warm, well-earned, early evening cuppa.

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist

The Duke is that rarest of things: a comedy that knows that a twinkle in the eye and a fire in the belly needn’t be mutually exclusive.

Robbie Collin – The Telegraph

Official Film Trailer for The Duke

Review from an EFC Member

A film based on a true story. Outstanding performances by Jim Boadbent as a man with an active social conscience and Helen Mirren as his long suffering wife. The story is touching, a balance of grief, justice and many humorous moments.

I greatly enjoyed the whole film and would happily watch it again.

Judith


< September 2022

November 2022 >

Harriet

The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

Shown: 1 September 2021

Exminster Film Club Rating: 87%

BBFC Ratings Badge 12A

Harriet Plot Synopsis

The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

Film Reviews

The intensity and the lyrical fervor of Kasi Lemmons’s direction lend this historical drama, about Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and her work with the Underground Railroad, the exalted energy of secular scripture.

Richard Brody, The New Yorker

This might not be the optimal film to tribute an American hero who’s long been neglected on our screens, but Erivo’s performance might very well become a definitive one, synonymous with Tubman. And that’s not a bad place to start by any measure.

Roger Ebert

Official Film Trailer for Harriet



< December 2020

October 2021 >

Rocketman

The Exminster Film Club’s showing for April 2020 (postponed to September) is Rocketman. It is the story of Elton John’s life, from his years as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of Music through his musical partnership with Bernie Taupin.

Shown: 9 September 2020

BBFC Ratings Badge 15

Rocketman Plot Synopsis

Young Reginald Dwight changes his name to Elton John and collaborates with singer-songwriter Bernie Taupin to become one of the most iconic figures in pop history. Set to his most beloved songs, it’s the epic musical story of Elton John, his breakthrough years in the 1970s and his fantastical transformation from shy piano prodigy to international superstar.

Film Reviews

Fletcher is the real star of this show, a director whose enthusiasm for musical storytelling shines through every frame, hitting all the emotional high notes.

Mark Kermode, Observer

The sheer brute force of Egerton holds it all together. And despite some darker themes, Rocketman is still quite a ride. It plays more as a musical than a standard biopic.

Mike Ryan, Uproxx

Official Film Trailer for Rocketman



< March 2020

2020-21 Season >

Hidden Figures

The March 2020 Exminster Film Club Film is the story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who rose through the ranks at NASA during the early years of the American space program.

Shown: 4 March 2020

BBFC Ratings Badge PG

Hidden Figures Plot Synopsis

As the United States raced against Russia to put a man in space, NASA found untapped talent in a group of African-American female mathematicians that served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Based on the unbelievably true life stories of three of these women, known as “human computers”, we follow these women as they quickly rose the ranks of NASA alongside many of history’s greatest minds specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, and guaranteeing his safe return. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and Katherine Gobels Johnson crossed all gender, race, and professional lines while their brilliance and desire to dream big, beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race, firmly cemented them in U.S. history as true American heroes.

Film Reviews

Hidden Figures, both a dazzling piece of entertainment and a window into history, bucks the trend of the boring-math-guy movie.

Stephanie Zacharek, Time

Its positive message about education, the value of hard work, and the power of social commitment make it a must-see for parents and kids alike.

Tirdad Derakhshani, Philadelphia Equirer

Official Film Trailer for Hidden Figures



< February 2020

September 2020 >

Lion

A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of miles from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia. Twenty-five years later, he sets out to find his lost family.

Shown: 5 February 2020

BBFC Ratings Badge PG
  • Date of release: 2016
  • Running time: 1h 58m
  • Director: Garth Davis
  • Writers: Saroo Brierley (book), Luke Davies (screenplay)
  • Country: UK, Australia, USA
  • Language: English
  • Links: IMDB Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic

Lion Plot Synopsis

Five year old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of miles across India, away from home and family. Saroo must learn to survive alone in Kolkata, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.

Film Reviews

Once in awhile, a movie comes along that is so touching and sincere, without a moment of false emotion or manipulative self-indulgence, that it establishes squatters’ rights and moves into your heart to stay.

Rex Reed, Observer

An astonishing true story that’s treated with an admirably light and artistic touch, rather than an overly dramatic heavy hand. Despite a weaker second half, it is ultimately deeply moving.

Dan Jolin, Empire

Official Film Trailer for Lion



< January 2020

March 2020 >

Stan & Ollie

Stan & Ollie was Exminster Film Club’s showing for January 2020. It pays tribute to the beloved entertainers Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy and brings you an affectionate look behind the scenes and a moving insight into the burdens and blessings of a creative bond.

Shown: 8 January 2020

BBFC Ratings Badge PG

Stan & Ollie Plot Synopsis

Laurel & Hardy, one of the world’s great comedy teams, set out on a variety hall tour of Britain in 1953. Diminished by age and with their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them, they face an uncertain future. As the charm and beauty of their performances shines through, they re-connect with their adoring fans.

The tour becomes a hit, but Stan & Ollie can’t quite shake the spectre of Laurel and Hardy’s past; the long-buried ghosts, coupled with Oliver’s failing health, start to threaten their precious partnership. A portrait of the most tender and poignant of creative marriages, they are aware that they may be approaching their swan song, trying to rediscover just how much they mean to each other.

Film Reviews

It is eccentric, sad and stirring to the core. Oh yes – and incredibly funny, too.

Robbie Collin, Telegraph

Stan & Ollie muddles up the history a bit, as all biopics do, but it’s a film without any meaningful flaws. Every character is wonderfully realised, every performance is spectacular. You’ll laugh all the way through, you’ll cry by the end, and you’ll see the brilliance of Laurel & Hardy come back to life via the very same cinematic magic that made them legends in the first place.

William Bibbiani, IGN

Official Film Trailer for Stan & Ollie



< December 2019

February 2020 >